Should You Resist the Condemnation of Your Property?

If you received a condemnation notice from the government, you must make the decision whether to accept it or to fight. You may wish to resist the condemnation of your property if you think that the government does not really need the property, if you think the government does not intend to use the condemned property for public use, or if the government's offer is not “just compensation." Otherwise, it may be in your best interest to accept the government's offer and accept the condemnation of your property.

Resisting Condemnation

Once you reject the government’s offer or decide to resist condemnation, you must defend your position. The government will show its need for the land, its uses for it, and how the value of the property was determined. It will be up to you to rebut whatever it is you are resisting.

For example, you may want to challenge the way the value of the property was appraised. If the amount of the offer is being contested, you will need to hire appraisers so the court can have information from both the government and the property owner. When the appraisers look at the property, they will first determine the market value. They will consider the amount of money the property would bring were it on the market for a fair amount of time. They will assume that any buyer of the property would be aware of its uses and potential. They will consider future uses of the property which might raise the value of the property. There is really no way to determine the exact amount the property would bring on the market, but appraisers should be able to come up with a fair value. You will need to present clear evidence that your value is correct if you want the court to rule in your favor. 

Risks in Resisting Condemnation

There are a few risks in resisting condemnation, including that the final property settlement might be less than the original offer, and/or that you will have to pay legal costs including attorney fees and cost of hiring appraisers when the case goes to court. In some states, you will be awarded reasonable compensation for legal fees if you win your case.  For instance, the original offer is deemed too low and your offer is deemed reasonable and fair. However, this won't always be the case. 

Contact a lawyer if you have questions about resisting condemnation, or the condemnation process.